Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 43–49

A “Thinking Journey” to the Planets Using Scientific Visualization Technologies: Implications to Astronomy Education



We present a novel approach to teaching astronomy and planetary sciences, centered on visual images and simulations of planetary objects. The basic idea of the “Thinking Journey” concept is to take the students to other celestial objects as tourists, and to teach science through the observatio of various natural phenomena in these new environments. The power of scientific visualization, through still and dynamic images, makes such a journey an exciting learning experience. The introduction of new technologies (3D animations, virtual reality) greatly enhances the visualization capabilities the teacher can use, allowing him to simulate actual flights over the terrain of other planets and to study them as if observing from a spaceship in orbit. The present program focuses on the study of the Moon and of the planet Mars, by means of observation, interpretation, and comparison to planet Earth. Students learn to recognize geological and atmospheric processes, discuss astronomic phenomena, and discover that the same basic physical laws govern all objects in the solar system.

astronomy education scientific visualization virtual reality “Thinking Journey” 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Projects and Development – SHOAMThe Open University of IsraelTel AvivIsrael
  2. 2.The Weizman Institute of ScienceRehovotIsrael
  3. 3.The Center for Educational TechnologyTel AvivIsrael

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